Sunday 23 November 2014

Banker sacked over porn emails gets year's salary

Ray Managh

Published 19/02/2014 | 02:30

James Reilly at an earlier hearing
James Reilly at an earlier hearing

A BANK of Ireland manager, sacked after he was identified as a link in an alleged pornographic chain of emails, has been awarded compensation by a judge for unfair dismissal.

Judge Gerard Griffin, in a reserved judgment, said James Reilly, former manager in the bank's Blanchardstown branch, had been unfairly dismissed due to the bank's failure to follow proper procedures, but he refused to reinstate him to his old job.

The Circuit Civil Court judge awarded Mr Reilly compensation amounting to a year's salary, 50pc of what he could have awarded him.

He said Mr Reilly had contributed to his own downfall.

Bank of Ireland had challenged a decision from the Employment Appeals Tribunal which had earlier found that Mr Reilly had been unfairly dismissed and ordered the bank to reinstate him.

Mr Reilly, of Edgewood Lawn, Blanchardstown, Dublin, was sacked in 2009 after an in-house investigation decided he had forwarded the emails to other staff and others associated with the bank.

Judge Griffin, who delivered his judgment yesterday in Bray Circuit Court, had heard that an outside agency had complained to Bank of Ireland that its email system was being log-jammed by pornographic images from the bank.

During the appeal hearing Roughan Banim, who appeared with Joanna Ronan-Mehigan for Mr Reilly, claimed that more than 150 other bank staff had engaged in the exchange of the emails but none of them had been disciplined.

SEXIST

Mr Reilly claimed in evidence that Bank of Ireland had threatened to repossess his house because he was unable to meet repayments of a large sum of money he had borrowed from them while in his job.

He had accepted during the tribunal hearing that he had forwarded "pornographic, rude, racist and sexist emails" he had received from other bank employees in order to mask his homosexuality.

The tribunal decided the outcome of an in-house disciplinary process by the bank had been predetermined and at least some of the key decision makers in the process had not exhibited the required independence.

Rosemary Mallon, counsel for Bank of Ireland, had led a full appeal by the bank that succeeded in overturning the tribunal's direction that Mr Reilly be reinstated. Judge Griffin awarded Mr Reilly his costs.

One of the emails, which was shown to the court during an eight-day hearing, contained a picture of paedophile Gary Glitter with a child's head appearing out of a shopping bag.

Irish Independent

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